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Top African players in Premier League history

The English Premier League (EPL) has been home to some of the best players to ever cross the pitch. Few regions have contributed to that image more than Africa. Some incredible African players have left a lasting impression on the domestic game in England. Some of the biggest clubs have had African players play for…

The English Premier League (EPL) has been home to some of the best players to ever cross the pitch. Few regions have contributed to that image more than Africa.

Some incredible African players have left a lasting impression on the domestic game in England. Some of the biggest clubs have had African players play for them during their most decorated eras, but which players are among the most celebrated to have played in the Premier League during their career?

Didier Drogba
It would be challenging to start anywhere else other than a player that won virtually every trophy available during his time in the Premier League. When Didier Drogba arrived at Chelsea for a club-record fee in the summer of 2004, very few would have expected him to have a lasting legacy. However, Drogba quickly became one of the most feared strikers in the top-flight, as he led Jose Mourinho’s side to a first league title in 50 years.

FILE PHOTO: Chelsea’s Didier Drogba celebrates with the trophy after their Champions League final soccer match against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich May 19, 2012. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

He wrote his name into Chelsea folklore at the end of the 2011-12 season, as he scored the winning penalty in the club’s Champions League final success against Bayern Munich. He left the club after that shootout success, having scored 157 goals in 341 games in all competitions. However, he returned to Stamford Bridge during the 2014-15 season, and scored four league goals in 28 games.

Yaya Toure
There haven’t been many more dominant midfielders in the history of the Premier League than Yaya Toure. After a stellar career in La Liga with Barcelona, the Ivory Coast national signed with Manchester City in the summer of 2010. During his time with Manchester City, he would form an integral part of the plans of numerous managers.

Sunderland’s Italian striker Fabio Borini (L) vies with Manchester City’s Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure during the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Manchester City at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north-east England on March 5, 2017.<br />SCOTT HEPPELL / AFP

He won the 2011 FA Cup, as he scored in both the semi-finals and final of the competition. Toure also won three Premier League titles, including the first under Pep Guardiola in 2017-18. The midfielder also won the League Cup on two occasions, before departing the Etihad to play in Greece at Olympiakos.

Riyad Mahrez
It would seem strange to exclude Riyad Mahrez from a list of the greatest African players to have played in the Premier League, despite the fact that he is still playing in the top-flight. His first success in the top-flight in England came during his five-year stay with Leicester City, as he was an important player in the Foxes securing their Premier League safety. However, in the following season, he would play his part in one of the most remarkable football stories that we have ever witnessed.

Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on July 8, 2020. (Photo by LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP)

Mahrez played 37 times for the Foxes in the 2015-16 season and scored 17 goals as the 5,000/1 outsiders won the Premier League title. He would stay at the King Power for two more seasons, before moving to Manchester City in the summer of 2018. During his stay with City to this point, he has scored 27 goals in 88 league appearances. Mahrez has won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup on three occasions.

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah has played for two of the biggest clubs in the Premier League during his esteemed career. His first spell in the Premier League wasn’t the most successful, as he played for Chelsea for two years before departing for Roma.

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Liverpool at The London Stadium, in east London on January 31, 2021. (Photo by John Walton / POOL / AFP)

During his spell at Stamford Bridge, he played 13 times and scored just two goals in two seasons. However, after an impressive season with AS Roma, Liverpool made the decision to  bring Salah back to the Premier League. He has been their common attacking outlet throughout his career at Anfield, and has won the golden boot on two occasions.

He has scored over 20 goals in three of the four seasons that he has spent with the club, and has played his part in winning both the Premier League and Champions League titles. His impression on the Liverpool side remains as strong today as it has ever been, and their chances of reclaiming the top prize will likely hinge on the performances of Salah throughout the 2021-22 season.

EPL Sports Betting
The 2021-22 season may have just begun, but the online soccer betting markets are already heating up. Bets can be made on a wide selection of markets throughout the season, with all games available at the leading sites. Customers can expect to find markets such as full time results and both teams to score.

Outright selections can also be made throughout the season, which means bets on the team that win the top-flight title and teams that will be relegated can be done easily.